Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Growing Stronger With Growing Power By Madison Nowling

Today we went and spent the entire day at Growing Power, an organization in Milwaukee that grows sustainable, fresh food for the community. They really had a little bit of everything: chickens, goats, compost, aquaponic systems, and of course, greenhouses full of plants. To clarify, aquaponic systems are basically self-sustaining mechanisms that house fish like tilapia or yellow perch, with plants grown above to provide nutrients for the water, which in turn nourishes the plants. They also had vermicompost, which is compost made by worms (they have amazing dirt-producing capabilities!). We were given a tour of their facility before we got to work. Growing Power is located in an urban setting, and they have greenhouses spread throughout the city, as well as connections and facilities in other cities. Most of the day we moved pots of red chard and other vegetables from one greenhouse to another and shoveled out compost that had been keeping the greenhouses warm during the winter to the main piles. It was strenuous work but also extraordinarily fulfilling. I felt accomplished, productive, and happy I could help out everyone who works so hard every day to keep the place running smoothly. Everyone was so incredibly kind and generous. The director--a truly wonderful woman--told us the story of Growing Power, and how the the man who started it all, Will Allen, strove through a tough beginning and made it work. Of course, it wouldn't have been possible without help from dedicated people like her, and the love needed for such an endeavor. She told us how Will Allen never becomes angry--he says it's a waste of energy, and instead, we should use it to get stronger. Hence the inspiration for the title: we not only got physically stronger at Growing Power, we grew stronger as a team, and as human beings.
Nasturtium, a wonderful plant with edible leaves and flowers 

One of the aquaponic systems

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